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the perverters of its purity) my purpose being, not an examination into the truth of the Christian faith, but, an elucidation of the nature and advantages of a single, but most important, duty, essential to the practice of that faith; instead, therefore, of consuming time by advocating the truth of the scriptures, which is by such professors admitted, and the first principles, consequently, granted, I am only concerned in referring them to those principles as the rules of their duty, and the guides of their conscience.
“ Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."-St. John, c. v. v. 39.
The scriptures, therefore, are the only certain guides to salvation; for in them only is contained the Christian law.
The scriptures inform us that the LORD'S SUPPER was instituted by Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and that he commanded his disciples, and through them all
Christians to the end of time, to obserre and participate in it, in remembrance of him. “ This do in remembrance of me.”— St. Luke, C. XXT.v. 19. : It is manifest, therefore, that it is the duty of Christians to participate in the Lord's Supper; for he that proposes to be a follower of Christ must observe his law, of which the command enjoining this duty is an integral part; and he who wilfully lives in the constant breach of any one part of the law violates the whole. ...
“ For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” --St. James, c. ii. v. 10.
It is, however, notorious that, notwithstanding this imperative obligation upon Christians to frequent the administration of the Lord's Supper, a gross neglect of this ordinance is a subject of just complaint ; and, since for the palpable neglect of any important duty some strong reason or objection must exist, an inquiry into the nature of that reason, or objec
tion, becomes necessary; and it appears, upon enquiry, that observation and expe. rience incontrovertibly prove that this neglect originates in four causes, viz.. .
1. Indifference. 2. Ignorance. 3. Misconception. 4. Fear or Terror.
The first cause (Indifference,) arises from the absence of real, or vital, Christianity.
The second (Ignorance,) proceeds from the total neglect of reading the sacred scriptures; or, from reading them inattentively.
The third (Misconception,) is the result either of adhering to the letter of the scripture without reference to the spirit; or from depending more upon controversial writings and opinions than upon the relation of scripture itself; and - The fourth ( Fear or Terror,) is the consequence of misinterpretation ; which induces weak and timorous consciences to avoid the celebration of the Lord's Supper, lest, by eating and drinking unworthily, they
should incur final damnation, or “ eat and drink their own damnation, through not discerning the Lord's body." --1 Cor. c. xi, v. 29.
In regard to the first cause; to profess Christianity and not to practice its laws is not to be a Christian.
To the second-To profess a religion and not study its laws, is to make the practice of them impossible; and, consequently, the profession vain.
The third-To rest upon literal terms of doctrine without ascertaining their whole meaning and application, is to decide upon assertion without proof; and to trust to the opinions of men rather than to the words of scripture, upon which those opinions rest, (when it is in our power to examine the scriptures themselves, which are as intelligible as they are conclusive) is the certain way to expose ourselves to difficulties and delusion; and
The fourth-To be alarmed, without ascertaining whether or not there exists a ground for alarm; or, if such ground does exist, discovering to what extent, is to fly from an imaginary foe, or to fancy troubles and then sink under them.
What eating and drinking unworthily means many do not clearly apprehend ; and many apply to the term damnation (as used by the apostle in reference to this subject,) an interminable sense, conceiving that it means eternal damnation; while others imagine that if, after having participated in the Lord's Supper, they fall into any sin they are lost for ever. It must arise from such misapprehensions that many who are regular church-goers abstain from the Lord's Supper; observing (as my own experience has proved to me,) that “ taking the Sacrament is so solemn and awful an act they dare not take it," and that they “ are not good enough to take
To remedy such inconveniences, and remove all obstacles in the approach to our Lord's table shall be my endeavour; and, I trust that my arguments will be in